Kid Hit Menu Items: Crinkle cut fries are a tough find in Los Angeles to begin with. Thanks to Wat Dong Moon Lek Noodle, we don’t have to rely on Langer’s as the main source. But wait, there’s a twist — tofu crinkle cuts! With peanut dipping sauce. Brilliant (only if you’re not allergic). Not that they’re much healthier, actually, because deep fried is still deep fried any way you slice it, even if healthy hippie proteins are involved. This approach might even be more nutritionally suspect than its French relatives. Anyway, kiddie crack sticks are a tool to get my kids in the door at Wat Dong Moon Lek, and for that I’m grateful. They’ll also peck at “rice balls” I make using sticky rice, pad see ew with an egg on it, and just about anything that’s not spicy or too veggie-oriented. And chicken sate, of course. Meanwhile, my friend Lisa’s kids seem to eat everything here, so I clearly need to try harder. Thus far I’ve avoided the slushy selection, but sooner or later that’ll come to an end.
Adult Perks: If you’ve ever experienced that crushing do-I-order-soft-or-crispy-noodles dilemma, kow soi has got you covered. I’ve become addicted to the combination of the two noodles textures with a bowl of silky curried broth; light enough to treat as a soup, but substantial enough to handle more as a sauce. Soft tofu is my personal meat of choice. Then mix in as much or as few bean sprouts, red onion and pickled mustard greens from the condiment dish served on the side as you like for texture and extra depth of flavor. (I like a lot.) While I can’t help but order this dish, thankfully Wat Dong Moon Lek is in our neighborhood – and now DELIVERS! – so I can gradually work my way through more of the menu beyond the beloved noodles, crispy pork belly with bamboo shoots, and the few other appetizers I’ve sampled. It’s about time I try the signature beef noodles already. All in due time, people. There’s a lunch combo special option, too.
Pros: The relatively recent renovation has expanded the space and further distinguished it from the florescent-lit white walled minimalist dens of Thai Town. Instead, cheeky celebrity silhouette portraits fill the turquoise walls. There’s a charming collection of Obama bobbleheads that the kids love, and large cut outs in the central room divider provides open views throughout the dining room. Each meal at Wat Dong Moon Lek becomes a fun lesson in celebrity iconography. The case shows off custardy and delicate desserts, such as pretty seasonal pumpkin items I recently noticed.
Cons: Do you dislike awesome Thai food in a fun atmosphere with an intriguing menu? Then don’t come here. It’s not open as late as one might assume.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Parking is in a busy strip mall, or there’s parking in the residential neighborhood. Competing with the Kitchen and Akbar patrons for spaces might get tricky if you’re going after a certain hour.
Other Tidbits: The afternoon I finally went for a solo lunch at WDML was one of those days full of “why haven’t I done this SOONER?” moments. No wonder so many people I know have been raving about this place, even though our city is full of stellar Thai joints, most within a couple mile radius of the intersection of Fountain and Sunset. I get it. And will be back often.
4356 Fountain Avenue, Silver Lake
Hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., daily